Nosy Neighbor: Where Are the World Trade Center Soldiers Based?

The military guys who patrol Brookfield, the Oculus, and so on: Where do they all live? The new Four Seasons hotel? Is there a hidden base somewhere in Tribeca? —M.

I emailed the Westfield press office (and Brookfield Place, but they tend not to respond), which directed me to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which said I should contact the New York National Guard.

Col. Richard Goldenberg, Public Affairs Officer for the New York National Guard, proved very helpful. “Essentially, the New York National Guard has had security personnel working alongside law enforcement in New York City since 9/11—at airports, subways, train stations, in and around the vicinity of the World Trade Center, and other places at the NYPD’s request,” he said. “We serve our state in times of peace, and we serve our nation in times of war. In the past 16 years, of course, that line has blurred. These members you see in uniform, with weapons, are there as part of a state mission, the Joint Task Force Empire Shield, on duty every day in and around New York City. (They are all volunteers of the New York National Guard, but if you wonder why some soldiers appear to be wearing air force uniforms, that’s because they’re part of the New York Air National Guard.) It’s a great deterrent, and we’re the first foot in the door when disaster comes. When Sandy hit, the task force was able to change its role from anti-terrorism to helping fellow citizens. Guys who might have normally been at a train station were out on Staten Island doing welfare checks.”

I explained that I understood that the National Guard is a reserve military force, and that the majority of National Guard soldiers and airmen hold a civilian job full-time while serving part-time as a National Guard member. (I was reading from Wikipedia in an effort not to sound like an idiot.) But what M. and I wanted to know was where the soldiers at the World Trade Center are based out of. “They’re based out of Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn,” replied Col. Goldenberg. “I’d be surprised if your readers didn’t know about Fort Hamilton. It’s right across the river!”

I broke it to him that most readers probably have no idea Fort Hamilton exists. He explained that the fort is an active Army installation, with its own garrison and staff of Army members. The National Guard units are tenants on the post. “It’s like Fort Bragg, but smaller,” he said. “You could probably hit a golf ball from one end to the other.”

He also sent over a fact sheet, which I’ve posted below, and a few links regarding the Joint Task Force Empire Shield.

••• New York Guard’s Joint Task Force Empire Shield: Guarding NYC Transit Hubs Since 9/11
••• Airmen and Soldiers Work Together for Empire Shield
••• Images of training from the Joint Task Force’s Flickr page

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  1. Nice reporting work!

  2. Thanks again, Tribeca Citizen! I’m a little disappointment though. I was going to apply if they were based at The Four Seasons.